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How to Turn a Dreadful Tragedy into Something Positive: The Story of Akeim Mundell

It’s been over a decade since Jessie James was murdered in Moss Side, but his legacy lives on.

Ever since his best mate was shot and killed in Moss Side, 23-year-old Akeim Mundell has been focusing all his efforts on battling gun and knife crime in the city. And he’s now being hailed a local hero.

His friend Jessie James was just a 15-year-old school kid when he was shot riding his bike through Broadfield Park. The loss, which Akeim suffered at the tender age of 13, has fueled his passion to positively impact the community of Manchester.

The murder, which sent ripples of shock and despair throughout the community in 2006, hit Akeim hard. In the weeks and months following the shooting he became angry, upset and worried about his future and the future of other people his age.

Despite the fact that some of his peers wanted to seek revenge for the death, Akeim decided to take another route: he vowed to do something to help change the social factors that resulted in the dreadful event.

Along with his daytime job as a teaching assistant at St Mary’s Primary in Moss Side, he runs workshops in south Manchester. They are designed to help equip kids with the skills to live a life free of gangs, guns, knives and violence.

As a volunteer for the youth group Community on Solid Ground, Akeim mentors at-risk kids. He also acts as an ambassador for Manchester City Council and hosts a range of large scale events that bring different parts of the community together.

It wasn’t long before Akeim became rewarded for his efforts. In 2015, he received the ‘Unsung Hero’ prize at the Manchester Be Proud Awards and two years later he was nominated for a Pride of Britain Award.

Also, due to his commitment to making Whalley Range a “better and safer place”, he was named Young Community Leader of the Year at the Groundwork Community Awards.

“I was absolutely shocked and honoured to have won the Young Community Leader of the Year award for 2017,” he said speaking about the award.

“I do what I do in order to create opportunities and make our community a more safe and striving place for our up and coming younger generation. It feels great being recognised for my efforts.”

Graham Duxbury, the CEO of community group Groundwork, said: “At a young age, Akeim has proven that with the right amount of support, dedication and passion that you really can make a difference.

“We are delighted to have been able to celebrate Akeim’s achievements and wish him every success going forward in continuing to be a positive and inspiring voice and figure for local young people.”

Akeim’s story proves that even during the darkest of times something positive can rise from hardship, tragedy and devastation.

Featured image credit: Akeim Mundell Facebook

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